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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • Concourt rapped for withholding judgment reasons bedroom
    Dumisani Sibanda, NewsDay

    September 06, 2013

    Failure by the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) to give reasons for its dismissal of a case where parties in the outgoing inclusive government were seeking postponement of the July 31 elections had created unnecessary anxiety, a local legal agency has said.

    Veritas, an organisation that provides information and interprets parliamentary proceedings and national laws, issued a statement on Monday, saying it was imperative that the ConCourt disclosed the reasons for its ruling issued two months ago.

    The application in question was jointly filed by outgoing Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai, MDC president Welshman Ncube and a civic society activist Nixon Nyikadzino following recommendations by Sadc leaders who had indicated the July 31 date set for the polls was too early before implementation of stated reforms.

    This was after President Robert Mugabe’s proclamation of July 31 as the date for elections.

    “The absence, two months on, of the Constitutional Court’s reasons for judgment explaining its 4th July decisions is a cause for concern,” Veritas said.

    It said the public was entitled to know why the court reached its unanimous decision on such an important issue.

    “Even a short summary of the thinking underlying the court’s conclusion, to be elaborated in a full judgment later, would have been helpful,” the agency said.

    Veritas added: “The reasons for judgment serves an important function in maintaining the rule of law, by demonstrating the independence, impartiality and accountability of the courts, maintaining public confidence in the administration of justice, and preventing undesirable speculation as to judicial impartiality.

    “A formal court order, not accompanied by or at least promptly followed up by detailed reasons for judgment, will tend to increase undesirable public suspicion and dissatisfaction, and prompt accusations of arbitrary use of the judicial power, no matter how unjustified suspicion, dissatisfaction and accusation may be in fact.”

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